Acts 2:11
Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
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(11) The wonderful works of God.—Better, the great things, or the majesty, of God. The word is the same as in Luke 1:49. The word points, as has been said above, distinctly to words of praise and not of teaching.

2:5-13 The difference in languages which arose at Babel, has much hindered the spread of knowledge and religion. The instruments whom the Lord first employed in spreading the Christian religion, could have made no progress without this gift, which proved that their authority was from God.Cretes - Crete, now called Candia, is an island in the Mediterranean, about 200 miles in length and 50 in breadth, about 500 miles southwest of Constantinople, and about the same distance west of Syria or Palestine. The climate is mild and delightful, the sky unclouded and serene. By some this island is supposed to be the Caphtor of the Hebrews, Genesis 10:14. It is mentioned in the Acts as the place touched at by Paul, Acts 27:7-8, Acts 27:13. This was the residence of Titus, who was left there by Paul" to set in order the things that were missing," etc., Titus 1:5. The Cretans among the Greeks were famous for deceit and falsehood. See the notes on Titus 1:12-13. The language spoken there was probably the Greek.

Arabians - Arabia is the great peninsula which is bounded north by part of Syria, east by the Euphrates and the Persian Gulf, south by the Indian Ocean, and west by the Red Sea. It is often mentioned in the Scriptures; and there were doubtless there many Jews. The language spoken there was the Arabic.

In our tongues - The languages spoken by the apostles could not have been less than seven or eight, besides different dialects of the same languages. It is not certain that the Jews present from foreign nations spoke those languages perfectly, but they had doubtless so used them as to make them the common tongue in which they conversed. No miracle could be more decided than this. There was no way in which the apostles could impose on them, and make them suppose they spoke foreign languages, if they really did not; for these foreigners were abundantly able to determine that. It may be remarked that this miracle had most important effects besides that witnessed on the day of Pentecost. The gospel would be carried by those who were converted to all these places, and the way would be prepared for the labors of the apostles there. Accordingly, most of these places became afterward celebrated by the establishment of Christian churches and the conversion of great multitudes to the Christian faith.

The wonderful works of God - τὰ μεγαλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ ta megaleia tou Theou. The great things of God; that is, the great things that God had done in the gift of his Son; in raising him from the dead; in his miracles, ascension, etc. Compare Luke 1:49; Psalm 71:19; Psalm 26:7; Psalm 66:3; Psalm 92:5; Psalm 104:24; etc.

9-11. Parthians, &c.—Beginning with the farthest east, the Parthians, the enumeration proceeds farther and farther westward till it comes to Judea; next come the western countries, from Cappadocia to Pamphylia; then the southern, from Egypt to Cyrene; finally, apart from all geographical consideration, Cretes and Arabians are placed together. This enumeration is evidently designed to convey an impression of universality [Baumgarten]. Cretes; such as belonged to the island of Crete, now called Candia.

The wonderful works of God; those things which God had wonderfully wrought, especially the resurrection of our blessed Saviour from the dead, which was a most wonderful work, and the main argument whereby the world was converted, and unto which the apostles bare witness.

Cretes and Arabians,.... The former are either the same with the Cretians, Titus 1:12 the inhabitants of the island of Crete, Acts 27:7 now called Candia or Candy, which has on the north the Aegean sea, on the south the Libyan or African sea, on the west the Adriatic sea, and on the east the Carpathian sea. In it were an hundred cities; the most famous of which were, Gnosos, Cortyna, Lyctos, Lycastos, Holopixos, Phaestos, Cydon, Manethusa, Dyctynna (e), and others; these spoke the Greek language; yet not the Attic, for the Cretian and Attic speech are distinguished (f): or else, as Dr. Lightfoot thinks, these were the same with the Cherethim or Cherethites, in Ezekiel 25:16 whom the Septuagint interpreters call Cretes, as here; since these are mentioned with the Philistines, to whose land Arabia joined; the inhabitants of which are next mentioned here. There were three Arabias; Arabia Petraea, which had on the west part of Egypt, and on the north Judea, and part of Syria, on the south the Red sea, and on the east Arabia Felix. The second was called Arabia Deserta, and had on the north part of Mesopotamia, and on the east Babylonia, on the south Arabia Felix, and on the west, part of Syria and Arabia Petraea. The third was called Arabia Felix, and had on the north the south sides of Petraea and Arabia Deserta, and the more southern part of the Persian gulf, on the west the gulf of Arabia, and on the south the Red sea, and on the east, part of the Persian gulf (g); and here dwelt Jews who spoke the Arabic language. Now these Jews, of different nations, declared concerning the apostles, saying,

we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God; not the works of creation and providence, though these are great and wonderful; but of redemption, pardon, atonement, justification, and salvation, by the Messiah, by his obedience, sufferings, and death, and also of his resurrection from the dead; things which struck them with amazement, and the more, that such illiterate persons should have such knowledge of them, and should be able to speak of them in such a clear, distinct, and powerful manner; and still the more, that they should speak of them in their several tongues in which they were born, and to which they were used, and which the apostles had never learned: and this they heard with their own ears, and were fully satisfied that they did speak divers languages,

(e) Mela, l. 2. c. 14. Vid. Solin. c. 16. & Plin. l. 4. c. 12. (f) Laert. in. vit. Epimenidis. (g) Ptolom. Geograph. l. 5. c. 17, & 19. & l. 6. c. 7.

Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
Acts 2:11. Κρῆτες καὶ Ἄραβες: both names seem to have been added to the list as an after-thought. Even if we cannot accept Nösgen’s idea that St. Luke is repeating verbatim the account which he had received orally from an eyewitness who had forgotten the Arabians and Cretans in going through the list geographically, yet the introduction of the two names in no apparent connection with the rest ought to show us that we are not dealing with an artificial list, but with a genuine record of the different nations represented at the Feast. Belser, who endorses this view, supposes that St. Luke obtained his information from an eyewitness who added the Cretans and Arabians supplementarily, just as a person might easily forget one or two names in going through a long list of representative nations at a festival. It is possible, as Belser suggests, that the Cretans and Arabians were thinly represented at the Pentecost, although the notices in Josephus and Philo’s letter mentioned above point to a large Jewish population in Crete. The special mention of the Cretans is strikingly in accordance with the statement of the Jewish envoys to Caligula, viz., that all the more noted islands of the Mediterranean, including Crete, were full of Jews, “Crete,” B.D.,2 and Schürer, u. s., p. 232. In R.V. “Cretans”; which marks the fact that the Greek Κρῆτες is a dissyllable; in A.V. “Cretes” this is easily forgotten (cf. Titus 1:12).—μεγαλεῖα only found here in N.T.; the reading of T.R., Luke 1:49, cannot be supported; cf. Psalms 70(71):19, where the word occurs in LXX. (Hebrew, גְּדלוֹת) Sir 17:9; Sir 18:4; Sir 18:33, Sir 42:21, 3Ma 7:22, R. The word is found in Josephus, and also in classical Greek: used here not only of the Resurrection of the Lord (Grotius), but of all that the prophets had foretold, of all that Christ had done and the Holy Ghost had conferred.

11. Cretes] Dwellers in the well-known island which lies south of the Cyclades in the Mediterranean, now called Candia. Christianity may perhaps have been spread in Crete also from the converts at Pentecost. Titus was made bishop of Crete.

Arabians] Inhabitants of the great peninsula which stretches between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

the wonderful works] More literally, the great works of God. So (Acts 10:46) of the first Gentile converts on whom the Holy Ghost came it is said, “They heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” And of those to whom the Spirit was given at Ephesus (Acts 19:6), “They spake with tongues and prophesied.”

Acts 2:11. Ἰουδαῖοί τε καὶ προσήλυτοι, both Jews and proselytes) That there were many proselytes in those times from among the Romans and their freedmen, and that they had been banished, is well known from Tacitus, l. 2, Annal. ch. 85. However it is not proselytes of the Romans only, but also of the other nations, as opposed to the Jews, that are meant in this place.—Κρῆτες, Cretans) The island Crete is the representative of islands in this enumeration. The prophets had predicted many things as to the conversion of “the islands” איים: and several of these towards the west occur in the history of the Acts.—λαλούντων, speaking) viz. in the Psalms of David, which were usually employed for that purpose at that time, or even in fresh and new language (modes of expression).—τὰ μεγαλεῖα, the wonderful works) the mighty exhibitions of power, the mighty operations.

Verse 11. - Cretans for Cretes, A.V. ; speaking for speak, A.V.; mighty for wonderful, A.V. (τὰ μεγαλεῖα). Acts 2:11Arabians

Whose country bordered on Judaea, and must have contained many Jews.

Speak (λαλούντων)

Rev., rightly, gives the force of the participle, speaking.

Wonderful works (μεγαλεῖα)

See on majesty, 2 Peter 1:16. From μέγας great. Rev., mighty works. Used by Luke only.

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